Customer Reviews for

Heart-Shaped Box

Average Rating 4
( 466 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(217)

4 Star

(146)

3 Star

(65)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(18)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

26 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

Creepy Cool

I heard a lot of people raving about this book and the "rental line" was too long, so I decided to buy it and find out what others liked about it.

Ghosts...check
Creepy...check
Left me feeling a little uneasy in the dark...check
Made me appreciate c...
I heard a lot of people raving about this book and the "rental line" was too long, so I decided to buy it and find out what others liked about it.

Ghosts...check
Creepy...check
Left me feeling a little uneasy in the dark...check
Made me appreciate contemporaries again...check

Great story, real characters and I liked that the main character was not the typical young, hot-blooded male. He's mature and has been through and has seen a lot of crap during his time. I didn't like him at first, but he grew on me and in the end, I loved him.

The book draws you in and keeps you on the edge the entire length of the book with its twists and turns. It's graphic, but endearing at the same time.

This is a keeper.

posted by cmor4les on November 9, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Protagonist: Judas Coyne is one of those selfish characters who

Protagonist: Judas Coyne is one of those selfish characters who you are supposed to dislike at first but come to love in the end when me becomes more selfless. A good job is done with his character, but this guy is nowhere near John Edward Marinville from Stephen King’s...
Protagonist: Judas Coyne is one of those selfish characters who you are supposed to dislike at first but come to love in the end when me becomes more selfless. A good job is done with his character, but this guy is nowhere near John Edward Marinville from Stephen King’s Desperation, or Darrell form The Walking Dear, or Sawyer from Lost. He is a whole character who acts according to the way he was drawn up.

Antagonist
The bad guy is a ghost, Craddock McDermott. Though this character is mostly well thought out, it would had been better if the author would have gone more into how his hypnotic methods work. Dean Koontz has a few novels where the bad guys use hypnotism, and their methods are spelled out very well, really making the reading thing. Hill doesn’t really do this as much as just saying that his character has methods that work.

Storyline and writing: The story did drag in placed, especially at the beginning. In general the theme of the book is a good idea. It could have been a lot shorter, though. 

Overall
There are flashes of a good writer here. I would read him again, to see if he’s gotten better. But overall, I didn’t think this was a really good book. 

posted by 7173998 on November 5, 2013

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  • Posted November 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Creepy Cool

    I heard a lot of people raving about this book and the "rental line" was too long, so I decided to buy it and find out what others liked about it.<BR/><BR/>Ghosts...check<BR/>Creepy...check<BR/>Left me feeling a little uneasy in the dark...check<BR/>Made me appreciate contemporaries again...check<BR/><BR/>Great story, real characters and I liked that the main character was not the typical young, hot-blooded male. He's mature and has been through and has seen a lot of crap during his time. I didn't like him at first, but he grew on me and in the end, I loved him.<BR/><BR/>The book draws you in and keeps you on the edge the entire length of the book with its twists and turns. It's graphic, but endearing at the same time.<BR/><BR/>This is a keeper.

    26 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Who Knew?

    Who knew that "horror-genes" exist? Obviously, Stephen King's son got HIS share!...lol! It's been a long time since a book has impressed me to the extent where I STILL get shivers--months after resding the book--when I think about it! Bravo! I'll look forward to many more!

    18 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2011

    Not for the easily frightened

    I have never read a book that literally made me scared to be alone. This is the one. It's a great read that keeps you wondering what is next. I couldn't put it down but I was scared to pick it up at night..Great book.

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Best Debut Novel I Have Ever Read!!!!!

    Joe Hill has crept into my house and made me turn on my lights to check for ghosts. This novel will make one think twice about antiques. The main character Jude is a death metal rocker with a sick twist on colletibles. He collects aynything to do with death and the occult, he even has a snuff film in his collection. So when he comes across a chance at buying a ghost online he doesn't think twice about it. This purchase may just cost him more than money, it may just cost him his life. <BR/><BR/>This novel was so good that I had to check twice to make sure that it was his first one. This book was phenomenal and it reminded me of someone else. As I was looking up the author I found out that he comes from a distinguished family. He is the son of Stephen and Tabitha King, they obviously know a little bit about writing. <BR/><BR/>This novel kept me reading well into the night, at the expense of my own fears. The way that he uses shorter chapters with a long one interspersed in between makes it seem like you have read for an hour when it has been four. The characters seem believeable and it is easy to start to believe that you are reading a biography instead of a fiction novel. <BR/><BR/>I would recommend this book to anyone who likes horror, suspense, or just a good book to read. Stephen King fans will be happy with this book, it made me think back to his older books and want to go back and re-read them. Next on my list is to pick up Joe Hill's new book, 20th Century Ghosts. Pick up your copy today, just read it with the lights on.

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2008

    A Powerful First for a Writer to be Reckoned With

    Joe Hill has successfully planted his writer's flag in the world of fiction with this incredible debut novel. He launches his story using a classic horror device - a haunted object, and then obliterates all cliches and standards where the genre is concerned. His story was thrilling, terrifying, and beyond comparison. It's rare to read an author who can create such originality using such a common theme.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Protagonist: Judas Coyne is one of those selfish characters who

    Protagonist: Judas Coyne is one of those selfish characters who you are supposed to dislike at first but come to love in the end when me becomes more selfless. A good job is done with his character, but this guy is nowhere near John Edward Marinville from Stephen King’s Desperation, or Darrell form The Walking Dear, or Sawyer from Lost. He is a whole character who acts according to the way he was drawn up.

    Antagonist
    The bad guy is a ghost, Craddock McDermott. Though this character is mostly well thought out, it would had been better if the author would have gone more into how his hypnotic methods work. Dean Koontz has a few novels where the bad guys use hypnotism, and their methods are spelled out very well, really making the reading thing. Hill doesn’t really do this as much as just saying that his character has methods that work.

    Storyline and writing: The story did drag in placed, especially at the beginning. In general the theme of the book is a good idea. It could have been a lot shorter, though. 

    Overall
    There are flashes of a good writer here. I would read him again, to see if he’s gotten better. But overall, I didn’t think this was a really good book. 

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Don't believe the hype

    Joe Hill is being touted as America's next major horror writer. If this is the best American writers can do, I'll stick with the British authors I love (e.g., Neil Gaiman, Jonathan L. Howard, Mark Hodder), thank you very much.

    "Heart-Shaped Box" revolves around an aging heavy metal rocker (Judas Coyne--not too cliche, huh?) with a penchant for collecting weird or macabre items. One day his personal assistant finds an Internet auction for a ghost--yup, a ghost. Naturally Coyne is intrigued by the auction and snaps up the ghost. A week or so later, the titular heart-shaped box shows up at his door. It contains a suit--the very suit the "ghost" had wanted to be buried in but wasn't, due to his stepdaughter's switch to a cheaper "burial suit."

    Coyne starts seeing a ghost wearing the suit. Turns out the guy had two stepdaughters, and one was a girl Coyne had lived with.

    To cut to the chase, the ghost blames Coyne for his younger stepdaughter's suicide. Getting Coyne to buy his ghost by setting up an online auction was his surviving stepdaughter's idea, so that the ghost would in essence "belong" to Coyne and would thereby have access to him. What follows this revelation involves an ill-conceived road trip, unnecessary deaths, more "startling" revelations about family grudges, and a conclusion that is barely satisfying.

    Hill's "hipper than thou" language is annoying in the extreme. All Southerners sound like uneducated, foul-mouthed hicks. (The South, by the way, seems to be the root of all evil in Hill's universe. There isn't a sin or unsavory behavior that isn't practiced almost exclusively by Southerners. Way too simplistic a view for my tastes.) The characters are two-dimensional cliches: jaded rock star; dirt-poor Southern girl who sleeps her way to a comfortable life; semiliterate, fanatically "religious," crazy rednecks...you get the idea. The only characters who arouse sympathy in the reader are the dogs--and boy, do they suffer for their nobility.

    I had my suspicions that I wouldn't like this book due to a relationship the author has with an older, more famous American horror writer. But I set my reservations aside because I read so many reviews stating that this book was terrifying, one of the most frightening books the reviewer had ever read, and so forth. Apparently here in the USA the only thing you need to achieve success and lavish (unwarranted) praise is a famous relative.

    As I stated in the beginning of this review, I'll stick with my British authors, for whom "originality" isn't an alien concept.

    7 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 25, 2008

    The Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

    Really scarey! I gave it to a friend to read and she gave it back a few days later saying she was afraid to continue. I enjoyed it.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    I was rooting for the ghost!

    I didn't really care what happened to the main charactar, who had no redeeming qualities that I could see.

    5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Horror fans will believe in ghosts at least in Joe Hill novels

    Rock star Judas Coyne loves collecting gruesome macabre junk. He always checks E-Bay and other on-line sites to see if any collectibles are for sale. He recently purchased a suit at an online auction in which the seller claims the attire is haunted by the ghost of the dead owner.--------------- Judas thinks of five degrees of separation when he learns who the ghostly owner of the suit is apparently his new possession belonged to the late Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of a superfluous groupie he tossed aside before she committed suicide over being coldly discarded by the famous rocker. Craddock vowed revenge when he was alive but had to wait for death to complete his quest as his spirit plans to kill Judas.---------------- The dueling lead characters make this a fascinating psychological ghost story as nothing is quite like it seems. Readers will start off thinking Judas is a cold hedonist and Craddock is kindhearted stepfather who cannot rest until he obtains an eye for an eye. However, agendas and deeper motives surface during the exciting story line that will have the audience stunned. Horror fans will believe in ghosts at least in Joe Hill novels.---------- Harriet Klausner

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2008

    Didn't care!!

    After forcing myself to finish this book, I discovered I didn't care about the characters, and felt like I was reading a script for a generic horror movie. It was almost as if Joe Hill wrote this book hoping it would become a movie. BORING!

    4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    A Must Read

    If you are a Stephen King fan, especially "classic" King, you must read his son Joe Hill! Excellent book, couldn't put it down. Looking forward to reading everything else he has written!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Tightly-written, spooky page-turner.

    I couldn't help thinking while reading this novel that it's a book Stephen King might produce if anybody had the nerve to edit his manuscripts these days. Lean writing, nicely spooky scenes and explicit about the necessity of dog ownership should you choose to tangle with a vengeful ghost. Didn't put it down for about six hours.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Started VERY strong...and then dwindled

    This novel started off wonderfully, with a very creepy, original ghost story with genuinely scary sequences, but then lost it's steam rapidly due to a plotline surrounding the ghost's motivation and backstory

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Scary stuff!

    I usually don't read "horror" stories, but noticed all the good reviews. Characters were extremely well-developed; I felt like I knew them each personally. Definitely a book to read during the day, in the light.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    Great So Far!

    I'm reading Heart-Shaped Box right now and I can barely put it down! I love it! I love the characters, Jude, Danny, and Marybeth (Georgia)! Joe Hill is amazing!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    EXCELLENT!!! JOE HILL BRINGS A NEW HIT TO THE TABLE!!!

    Joe Hill, like many of you know, is the horror novelist's Stephen King's son. But just because "Heart Shaped Box" is a "horror" novel, let there be no stereotyping. Joe Hill has a completely different writing style than his father. In fact, (and this is in my own opinion) Joe Hill writes a little better than his dad. But regardless, "Heart Shaped Box" was an EXCELLENT read, and makes me wanting more. I am really looking forward to this young novelists next thrill ride of a novel.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2014

    Block out a couple of days for this one!

    This was my first Joe Hill experience and I was beyond impressed! He had me jumping and clinging to the book, then sighing with relief. Then I was back to gasping, hunched over the book waiting with anticipation. What a nail biter! An amazing read by an amazing author. Way to go, Joe!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    I haven't finished reading this yet, and I'm not sure if I actua

    I haven't finished reading this yet, and I'm not sure if I actually will. The last 75 pages or so, I have just skimmed. The main character is poorly developed and I just don't care what happens to him, but I do hope his dogs turn out OK. Also, the 'plot twist', not too surprising and completely cliche. It seems the author has taken notes from his father's recent novels, and just spit something out that seemed like it would be interesting, but instead is just a waste of the readers time. I would also say it's a waste of the readers imagination as well, but this story didn't make me think enough to actually employ said imagination. Save your money, save your time, read an old classic instead.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2013

    This book was wonderful! It grabbed me from the first line unti

    This book was wonderful! It grabbed me from the first line until the last. It is a wonderfully complicated story and many times I wondered if it was going to end abruptly but it didn't. I definitely recommend this!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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